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Litigation, Arbitration and Regulatory

Our team in Uganda possesses extensive experience in civil and commercial litigation and commercial arbitration. 

We have been involved in several landmark cases in the fields of banking and financial law, construction, tax, commercial agreements, insurance, real estate, employment, regulatory affairs, product liability, insolvency and debt recovery, and in specialized spheres of law such as constitutional law, procurement, expropriated properties, utilities, employee benefits and aviation negligence. We possess the local knowledge to apply the regulatory, economic, political and cultural context to legal issues and develop competitive case strategies. 

We represent clients in numerous key business sectors across all levels of the local and regional judicial system, including the East African Court of Justice. Our dispute resolution lawyers work closely with the firm’s other practice areas to provide a seamless and fully integrated service. 

We have a strong track record of acting for leading multinational corporations and local entities in domestic and international arbitration. Our arbitration practice combines extensive regional and global resources with DLA Piper Africa and the global DLA Piper International Arbitration practice. Our team advises a broad range of clients, including foreign investors, government and government entities, financial institutions and project sponsors. In addition to a fully established commercial arbitration practice, we offer investors advice on a range of substantive investment protections available under Ugandan law as well as under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties. 

We are part of a global team of seasoned investment arbitration practitioners.

Experience has included advising:

  • British American Tobacco in prosecuting a landmark economic rights constitutional petition to challenge the Tobacco Control Act 2015 before the Constitutional Court.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Uganda before the First Instance and Appellate Divisions of the East African Court of Justice in a USD12 million dispute founded upon a claim on a guarantee issued by the bank.
  • National Social Security Fund, the country’s statutory provident fund, in its challenge of a USD20 million arbitral award before the Supreme Court.
  • Absa Bank in defending a complex and high-value claim for fraud and breach of duty in relation to the receivership of a borrower.
  • Stanbic Bank in proceedings before the Court of Appeal which examined the validity of loan facilities granted to an undeclared illiterate.
  • Total E&P, Tullow Operations and CNOOC Uganda in a landmark and complex lawsuit that challenges the validity and legality of exploration and production licences issued to the oil companies, including a challenge of the state’s constitutional trustee ownership of mineral resources.
  • Aegis Media South Africa Proprietary, a subsidiary of Dentsu Aegis Network Limited, in a high value contractual dispute involving non-payment of fees under an affiliation agreement in Uganda-seated LCIA arbitration proceedings.
  • Africell in a multibillion shilling contract dispute involving an alleged breach of distributorship agreements in ad hoc arbitration proceedings.
  • Rift Valley Railways in a multimillion-USD construction dispute under local arbitration rules.
  • Vivo Energy in ad hoc arbitral proceedings in a high value contractual dispute concerning the supply of liquified petroleum gas.
  • Band 1 – General Business Law (Chambers & Partners 2019)

Capacity and retroactivity under the EAC Treaty

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has confirmed that (1) a party which is not a partner state or an institution of the East African Community under Treaty For the Establishment of the East African Community cannot be properly sued before the East African Court of Justice and (2) the East African Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over acts that took place before the coming into force of the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Common Market (the Common Market Protocol).

Enforcement of foreign judgments on the basis of international comity

In what is a significant judicial development, the High Court of Uganda has decided that even in the absence of reciprocal arrangements, a foreign judgment can be registered and enforced in Uganda on the basis of international comity and the international law theories of obligation and reciprocity.